Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
He did not say, “Go and make good citizens” or “Go and make Nazarenes” but rather he said, “Go and make disciples and baptize them.”
We have our marching orders. Make disciples and then baptize them.
Since Jesus said it, I am persuaded that EVERY believer should be baptized.
It’s an event to remember.
I remember very well the day I was baptized. I was ten or eleven years old. The church we attended did not have a baptismal tank, so I was baptized on the Eastern Michigan District Nazarene Campgrounds. The campgrounds has had a name change since then, it’s now called “Water’s Edge Campgrounds.”
Back when I was a boy, boys and girls did not swim together. Mixed swimming was an absolute no-no on the Nazarene campgrounds. So there was a “girl’s lake” and a “boy’s lake.”
The boy’s lake was the nicer of the two lakes. It was a mostly sandy lake with only an occasional leech. It had a really big dock that brave young men could dive off. I am not great swimmer, diver and probably not particularly brave. I never jumped off the dock. Compared to the girl’s lake, it was nice. Boys and girls both swim in it now. So, it’s not called the “Boy’s Lake” anymore— now it’s called “Sandy Bottom Lake.” There is a big water slide that goes into it. I think there is still an occasional leech or two— where boys and girls can discover them.
The girl’s lake, on the other hand, did not have a cool dock. It had a lot of seed weed. The water wasn’t very clear. I believe it was home to the annual convention of leeches and every other gross and creepy water creature. I don’t know why the boys got the good lake and the girls got the bad lake — that’s just the way it was. As far as I know, N.O.W. never protested the lake configuration. Maybe they should have. The girl’s lake also had a name change it is now called “McGuire Lake.”
Somewhat reluctantly I must admit to you that I was baptized in McGuire Lake. That’s right—the GIRL’S lake! I, your manly preacher (I like to think I’m manly—even if my swimming and diving skills are suspect and I’m not particularly brave– especially if leeches are involved) was baptized in the girl’s lake. I’m not sure why baptisms were held in the girl’s lake, they just were. Boys and girls—we were all baptized in the girl’s lake. While I’m making true confessions of my baptism, let me also inform you that the minister that baptized me (my pastor at the time) later ran off with a bunch of money from the church. He was an embezzler. He never went to jail— probably should have. So I was baptized in the girl’s lake by a crook.
Why did I tell you all of this?
Baptism is not about the water. Girl’s lake, boy’s lake, lots of water, a little water—the location or the amount of water is not what’s important (hopefully there are no leeches). It’s a symbol of what God has done. And it’s not about the minister who does the dunking (or sprinkling or pouring) during the baptizing. It’s all about what God has done (not some preacher)! It’s a symbol of the glorious grace of God, when He washed our sins away.
I love baptism times—and this Sunday we will be celebrating with 20 or so people the great news that they have had their sins all washed away! If you have had a change of heart—bring a change of clothes on Sunday! It’s not too late to be baptized (just shoot me or Pastor Andy an email so we can plan the morning). Let’s celebrate what God is doing in the hearts and lives of men and women!